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Saurabh Kumar's - Click a Food (aka Bachelor Cooking)

Everybody in my family, that is my mother, my father, my grandfather, my tauji, my mausi etc. have a knack for cooking. They just love cooking and experimenting with food....so why not I give it a shot too? :) Here I try to jot down my cooking experiences, a la bachelor style!

Oh, and by the way, all snaps have been taken by me, and not lifted from the web! :)
Click on a snap to enlarge it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

CocoChock Strawberry Dessert

Vandana, my better half, was about to come back home after 6 months official trip. To celebrate this moment, I wanted to make something special for her. Something fun, something different. I remembered reading somewhere how to make a tasty dessert - consisting primarily of yummy ripe strawberries dipped in chocolate. Something told me that with these ingredients, whatever ends up, should be tasty. It looked to be an easy recipe too - or so I thought.


Ingredients
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Bars of dark milk chocolate(bitter as per taste)
  • Coconut
  • Grater
  • A double boiler(or a similar setup)
  • Stove
  • Toothpicks
  • Thermocoal sheet or something to prick in the toothpicks
  • Strong will not to "taste" the ingredients before the dish is completed


Method

  1. Begin by washing the strawberries well and leaving them to dry. Remember that any water on them will result in the chocolate not sticking well
  2. Use this time to grate the coconut. This is what you would drape the chocolate coated strawberries in.
  3. Prick each strawberry with a toothpick. This is to give a grip to the strawberries and to easily dip them in chocolate and to easily dry them with minimum mess.
  4. Peel open the bar of chocolates. Almost any type of chocolate bar should do. Choose a taste to your liking and as bitter as you fancy would go well with the taste of strawberry.
  5. If you do not have a double boiler, then prepare a setup like mine to melt the chocolates. The trick is to fill the bottom utensil with water, enough not to make it touch the glass container. We need only the steam to heat the glass container. This will ensure the chocolate does not burn.
  6. Once the strawberries are dry, proceed to next step
  7. Turn no the heat and place your boiler on it. Make sure its absolutely dry. Chocolate does not like water!
  8. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put in the boiler. Remember that we need to put it on low flame. Chocolate is quite delicate and I discovered that it can easily become unusable if its heated too high or for too long. The photograph will show you that I placed whole bars to be melted, but that went wrong. The bars became unusable and I had to run to the market to buy more chocolates to melt again in smaller pieces.
  9. Chocolate may retain its shape even after melting. So you may need to use a spatula to check if it has melted
  10. At this point, simply roll in your strawberry in the chocolate to give it an even coat of chocolate.
  11. Bonus step: If you have the patience, use a separate boiler to melt some white chocolate which can be used to dip the tips or create some designs on the strawberries in contrast to brown chocolate.
  12. Immediately roll this strawberry on the coconut powder.
  13. Stand the strawberry on the thermocoal sheet or some box to let it dry.
  14. Repeat steps 10-13 for all remaining strawberries
  15. Let it dry and put it in refrigerator
  16. Serve cool

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bread Poha

Sunday morning, I wake up late and open my refrigerator to search for some thing for a quick painless breakfast. What stares at me from inside the refrigerator are two or three packets of bread left over from last week. The slices were not as soft as when they were fresh and hence I had bought new bread instead of finishing the left overs. Then, I remembered my mom’s receipe of making “Bread Poha”.

Bread Poha can be made without much efforts, and makes for a quick, tasty snack, which is very healthy and perfect for a morning breakfast. The more ingredients you can get together from the following list, the better your efforts will taste :)

Ingredients

(for 2 people)



Method


  1. Begin by cutting your bread slices into small cubes
  2. Shred the onion and cut the potato into small cubes
  3. If the peas are frozen, put them into water to let them thaw and absorb some water for 5 minutes
  4. Take a bit(just enough to slightly fry the onions) of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan
  5. Put two pinch of rai seeds in it and wait for them to start popping
  6. Put the onions now and stir it till the onion becomes pink
  7. Put in the potato cubes now
  8. Add salt to taste, and a pinch of turmeric powder for a nice color. By the way, even though turmeric powder does not have any strong taste, but it is one of nature’s superb all round healer. So a pinch of it daily does wonders for your body in the long run.
  9. Now add the peas and cover the utensil to let it steam and boil the potatoes
  10. Now sprinkle a bit of water on your bread crumbs. Remember, just enough to moist the crumbs and slightly soften them if they have become too hard in the refrigerator.
  11. Check after about 5 minutes if your potatoes are well cooked, then add the bread crumbs on them
  12. Mix all well so that the crumbs gets coated with the salt, yellow color and mustard seeds
  13. Now add a teaspoon of tomato ketchup to the mix. Mix well, and turn off the heat
  14. Cover for a minute or two, and add chopped fresh coriander for garnishing
  15. Your healthy snack is ready

Once you actually cook it, you will see how easy and tasty it is!

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Meethe Chawal

It was a bright and energetic Sunday morning, and quite after some time, I had invited a couple of my friends and office colleagues for lunch. Mutter Paneer is what is most often expected at my place, and they were right this time too :) That led me to ponder on how could I add a variety to my menu. I decided upon making Meethe Chawal as a sweet-dish. Here is how I made it:

Serves 6





Ingredients

2 cups of rice
2 cups of sugar
5-6 almonds, shredded
3-4 walnuts, shredded
5 choti ilaichi, grounded
A fistful of currents
About 2x2 inch of dry coconut, grated
1 cup water
Half teaspoon of haldi

Method

1. Cook rice. To save time, or to serve the dish fresh, you may do this step even beforehand
2. Put sugar in an open utensil like a non-stick kadhai and put the water, about 1 cup to dissolve the sugar on medium flame. If you are thinking of reducing the sugar, refer to step 9 first ;)
3. Keep stirring till the sugar completely dissolves. Let the mixture boil and then leff to simmer, till a honey like consistency appears. A good clue is to take a bit of liquid in spoon, blow it cool, and take it between thumb and forefinger. As soon as there appears a syrup strand between the two fingers, you are ready for next step
4. Put the haldi in the syrup and mix well, to dissolve any lumps
5. Put the pre-cooked rice in the syrup. Mix well so as too get all rice coated with the syrup
6. Put sprinkle the iliaichi, half of the coconut and half of currents in the rice now.
7. Cover the utensil for 4-5 minutes
8. Turn off the flame and let it stand for 10-15 minutes, BEFORE your rice become too dry to start sticking to the utensil. This will help the rice absorb the syrup and more importantly will allow the aroma of iliachi to set in
9. Note: If your “diet-concious” mind overtook your heart over at step 2, and you put less sugar, then your rice will taste, well like boiled rice hence spoiling the whole effect. Correction add more sugar now, and mix well before covering the lid. Trust me, experience talks ;)
10. Transfer the rice to your serving utensil
11. Sprinkle evenly the walnuts, almonds, currents and finally the coconut powder
12. The dish may be served fresh and hot, or refrigerated

Enjoy the praises!

Dahi Baingan

My friend Debendra aka Debu has a knack in cooking. Today he repeated cooking a side-dish, which is native from his place – Orissa. I instantly liked the lip-smacking, slightly sweet and slightly spiced, cool flavor and requested for the recipe. He obliged …a friend in need is a friend indeed ;)

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 big round brinjal
About 400 grams of fresh curd
Refined oil, enough to deep fry the brinjal slices
Half teaspoon of grounded roasted zeera powder, or fresh zeera
Haldi
Pinch of zeera
Pinch of rai
Pinch of methi
Pinch of sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste
Grounded red mirch

Method

• Slice the brinjal in round slices, and cut the slices in half
• Coat the pieces with Haldi



• Deep fry the slices. You may do this on a non-stick pan, as this will help use much lesser oil.



• Take out the pieces in a separate dish



• Take out the curd in a separate utensil, preferably in a big flat, low height utensil
• Put the zeera, rai, methi and sesame seeds in oil to slightly fry



• As soon as the zeera turn pinkish, pour the oil and these spices in the curd



• Add sugar and mix well to dissolve sugar
• Mix well, and then sprinkle dry-roasted zeera powder. If you have fresh zeera, then it can be roasted slightly and crushed, maybe by a rolling pin





• Mix well, and add sprinkle red mirch to taste



• Add salt
• Now place the brinjal pieces in the curd mixure, so as to dip them


• Serve cooled

Enjoy Dahi Baigan!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Ice Lemon Tea

Just before my recent trip to US, I got an opportunity to visit my elder sister in Mumbai. Apart from the great time spent with her, we ate out on some real yummy Mixed Chicken Sizzlers, but that is not what this recipe is about. This post is about making real refreshing Iced Lemon tea, which didi gave me the recipe for:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 level tea spoon of tea leaves

  • 2 heaped tsp of sugar (may be added more as per taste)

  • 1 mint leaf

  • ½ lemon



Method

  • Heat water with sugar in it

  • Just before it starts to boil, turn off the flame, and add the tea leaves

  • Stir twice

  • Drain to the jug

  • Add lemon juice

  • Add the mint leaves as garnishing


Serve chilled

p.s.: We did not have a digital camera there, so no pictures at the moment

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Chip Chocholate Ice-cream

Here is how to make a quick ‘n cool dessert when your friends come over.

Chip Chocholate Ice-cream


Method
  1. Get some chocolate chips (like the ones from Nestle)

  2. Get some plain vanilla ice-cream

  3. Mix them together…and serve!

Boondi Raita

Boondi Raita is a simpe to make yogurt dish, which goes with a lot of normal day-today food. Here is how you prepare it(or, should I say - How I prepare it)

Boondi Raita


Ingredients
  1. Curd - 150 gm

  2. Zeera (Cumin Seeds) - roasted(not burnt!)

  3. Fresh green dhaniya

  4. Boondi

  5. Kala namak (Black Salt)

  6. Red chilli

  7. Salt


Method
  1. Begin by churning the curd in a mixer to bring it to a liquids consistency. You may add a bit of water to thin it to your liking

  2. Dry heat the zeera to make them dark in color and then remove them off heat

  3. Now grind the zeera into powder

  4. Add the salt, black salt a pinch of red chilli

  5. Add the zeera

  6. Mix well

  7. Add the fresh green dhaniya to garnish

  8. (You MAY add a pinch of sugar, as per your liking)


Serve cooled!

Mutter Paneer

The blissful weekend was in sight again, and as always, was much awaited. I had no special plans for the weekend, and anyway every now and then Indore was experiencing spurts of rain, so no major outing was planned. I was at my home-sweet-home (Ed: trying) to study for my upcoming INS examination. Was just chit-chatting with friends on phone when I came to know that my colleague and friend Aneeta was home alone, as each and every one of her friend had gone to hometown, and she was not feeling very well too. I thought I’ll call her over for lunch. So I called up Nilanajana too and as always, seeked help. I decided upon my trusted Mutter Paneer. To go with it, I would make Boondi ka Raita and wind it up with some chip-chocolate ice cream… sounds tempting already, doesn’t it? :)

Mutter Paneer


Here is how I made my dishes:

Ingredients
  1. Some green peas (about half a cup)

  2. Paneer (cottage cheese)- 150 gm

  3. Salt

  4. Kasturi Methi – 1-2 teaspoons

  5. Hara Dhaniya (Coriander leaves) - dry grounded – 3 tablespoons and fresh

  6. Ginger-Garlic paste (about 2-3 table spoons)

  7. Zeera (Cumin seeds) – one teaspoon

  8. Heeng (Asafoetida) – 2,3 pinches

  9. Curd – About 50 gms or more

  10. Tomato puree

  11. Grated 2-3 onion paste


Method
  1. For Mutter Paneer, if the peas are frozen, thaw them first (put in water to quicken the process).

  2. Cut paneer in small cubes and fry them just a bit to change their colour a bit. Them take them out of oil and place separately. This will give the paneer piece nice colour, will give them a good texture, and will minimize their breaking during preparation of the dish

  3. Put the zeera in oil, and let them just change their colour.

  4. At this time add heeng to the oil

  5. Almost immediately now add the onion. Stir till the onion becomes dark brown in colour (This will give he gravy its primary colour)

  6. Now add the ginger-garlic paste. And mix it well

  7. Add the tomato puree now and a bit of curd to make the gravy rich and obtain texture

  8. Add dry dhaniya now

  9. After mixing them well, add the peas too

  10. Now add the paneer and add water, to just cover the paneer pieces.

  11. Add salt to taste, haldi, a bit of any vegetable masala if you have and red chilli to taste

  12. Add dry kasturi methi and mix.

  13. Now cover your utensil and let it boil and stop when you find the gravy as per your thickness liking


Serve this will cold Boondi-raita and enjoy the treat! Here is how to make the Raita (its quick to make!)

Of cource, what’s without a good dessert? I teamed this with Chip-chocolate ice cream. Here is how I made it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Paneer-Zeera Rice

Today was one of those days when you return late from your office, and realize that you need to cook yourself a dinner, only to be enlightened a few minutes later by the fact that you are short on raw materials. Just perfect!

Being exhausted I was not in a mood for some elaborate cooking. For a moment I pondered if some biscuits and instant soup would save my day, but the rats jumping in my stomach started a procession hence adding to my hunger pang. After a bit of rattling of my brain and my kitchen I found rice and some cottage cheese (paneer) in stock. A quick trip to my nearby market got my some curd and I was ready and armoured to prepare paneer-zeera rice. Here how:

Ingredients

  1. Rice about 1 cup
  2. 150 grams of paneer
  3. 150 grams of curd
  4. Cumin seeds(zeera) – about 1 teaspoon
  5. Green peas
  6. Salt
  7. Refined oil

Method
  1. Wash rice and soak it in water fro about 10 minutes
  2. Cut paneer in small cubes and deep-fry slightly to make them a bit dark in colour
  3. Take out the paneer from oil and sprinkle some salt on it
  4. Now put some jeera in the oil and let it heat till it changes colour to brownish-pinkish
  5. At this time, drain the rice water and put the rice in oil and stir to give the rice a nice coat of oil
  6. Now add the water to a level above rice, and salt to taste
  7. You may add a bit of some readymade vegetable spice for some extra zing and aroma
  8. Add in the paneer and peas, and cover the utensil for about 5 minutes
  9. Check if the rice is done, else put back the lid
  10. Have with cold curd, or some pulses
My experiment with this dish went off quite well, and I hope you get yours too. So do let me know what your attempt resulted in :)


[I forgot to take snaps, but will try to take some soon]

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Chocholate Cake

I was coming back from office and as usual passed the bakery shop on my way. It’s a real tiny shop, but usually customers are crammed on its checkout point. Today the smell of fresh cookies and cakes was just too luring to resist. I decided that it's time to scale the challenge of making a cake at home(home meaning my small rented place where I stay alone), this weekend.

Problem: I do not have an oven!! I called up home, but mom had always used an oven, so she was not too sure of the ratio and timings of using a pressure cooker. I checking the internet, but could not get a convincing recipe. I did got tid-bits of the process, but I was not confident. Solution: I asked my friends at office if anybody had attempted this endeavour before, but got a negative response from all except my friend Nilanjana.


Apparently her mother makes mouth-watering cakes every now and then – in a pressure cooker! Yippee! So she promptly volunteered to assist me (ofcource, on the condition that we share the final booty[read: hot chocolate cake] amongst us). She soon had the recipe from her mom, which we followed step-by-step as follows:


Ingredients

  1. Pressure cooker

  2. A utensil which fits in the cooker

  3. 3 eggs

  4. Cocoa powder (for chocholate cake, else Vanilla essence)

  5. Baking powder - 1 spoon

  6. Powdered sugar – 1 cup

  7. 100 grams butter (thawed)

  8. Flour (maida) – 1 cup

  9. Grated almonds, chopped walnuts


Method
  1. First begin with the labour intensive task of crushing the sugar to powder( I have no mixy at home, so I and Nilanaja took turns to use the house-hold chakla-belan for the job!)

  2. Then sieve the baking powder and flour together

  3. Beat the eggs well

  4. Now mix the butter in the sugar, till it becomes a paste (If you have a sweet tooth, give this task to your friend, because what results is very tempting)

  5. Add the cocoa powder (Tip: If you do not want to make a chocolate cake, then just skip the cocoa powder, and instead put a few drops of vanilla essence

  6. Now you need to carefully start folding the batter(sugar and butter) with the flour. It needs folding to prevent the trapped air in flour to escape. This results in a softer and fluffier cake.

  7. Keep adding beaten egg every now and then

  8. Fold well until you get a batter with flowing consistency (this takes time and energy. I brusied my hand doing this :( )

  9. Put a layer of butter in the utensil to prevent the cake from sticking to it and stick on it some brown paper

  10. Pour in a utensil, and put this in the cooker (after pouring in half of the batter, you may spread in the almonds and walnut as per taste)

  11. Remove the pressure valve and put the cooker no heat

  12. Remove after about an hour(Yes, making the cake on cooker takes time. Microwave would have taken just 3 minutes!)

  13. Insert some long stick, like a sweing needle in the cake and pull back. If nothing stuicks to the needle, then your cake is ready, else it needs more heating.

Treat yourself to the delicious hot chocolate cake, and do let me know what you think on this


Ze Chocholate cake!


Me with the cake, in an artistiK mood :D

Caramel Pudding

Due to some nation wide controversy on Salman Khan, we could not get the movie tickets to 'Meine pyar kyun kiya', which also means that I now have plenty of time for the day at home. On a brainwave, I decided I should try making Caramel Pudding. My mom makes it and it tastes just YUM! A phone call to dear mom resulted in the recipe. Now cooking rice or pulses for lunch is one thing, and making something like this is a different game altogether. It’s like, watching a movie alone means no fun at all. So I called over my friend and colleague Nilanjana to help. She is usually always ready to participate in such crazy brainwaves of mine, and as expected, she agreed to be my partner in crime.

Ingredients
  1. 1/2 litre milk (not the thin, diet milk)

  2. 1.5 medium sized eggs (yes, 2 eggs seemed too much)

  3. Vanilla essence (to mask the smell of eggs, and give a yummy aroma)

  4. Grated almonds (preferably wet in water)

  5. About 6 tablespoons of sugar

  6. Pressure cooker (yup, because I made it with what cooking utensils i had. Means no microwave or a oven or a OTG)

  7. A utensil which can fit in your pressure cooker

  8. A lid for your utensil, inside the cooker


Method
  1. Boil the milk and stir it to avoid it sticking to sides. Keep boiling till the milk gets thicker (will be a bit more than half the quantity you started with) and add 5 spoons of heaped sugar to the milk

  2. Beat the eggs

  3. Let the milk cool now

  4. Take a utensil, and put about 1 tablespoon of sugar in it. Spread the sugar and then put the utensil on heat for a moment. This will melt the sugar....quickly tilt the utensil so that you get a nice brown sugar coat on the base. Let it cool

  5. When the milk has cooled, mix the beaten eggs in it

  6. Now add about 5-8 drops of Vanilla essence

  7. The milk now needs to be poured in the utensil.

  8. Pour some water in the cooker (about 1-2 cups), place a lid on the utensil and put the utensil in the cooker.

  9. Remove the pressure valve of the cooker and put the cooker on heat for about 15 minutes

  10. After this open the cooker. Take out the utensil and let it cool. Do NOT try to take the pudding out at the moment as it will be set at the moment. Infact after it cooled down, i put the utensil as-is in my refrigerator.

  11. Next morning, I just turned it upside down on plate and my pudding was ready!

  12. You may put grated almonds on top.



The pudding came out to be just perfect, but being the good and responsible friends and citizens that we are, we decided not to cut the pudding, and first invite some friends to it. We called our friend Debendra(urf Debu), but apparently he was allergic to egg puddings! Then we invited Aneeta, a good friend and another colleague, over for the dessert – and we learnt that she was down with a bout of food poisoning…. Probably good for us that now we had the pudding all for ourselves, and with no guilt feeling :) So after a torturous wait of about 10 hours, we had the pudding. Rest assured, I am confident I can have this lovely dessert ready to baffle any guests I have over for lunch in future!

Do let me know if you have any suggestions or improvements, or even if you tried this out.


The pudding should appear like this, when ready. It would appear thick, almost like curd, specially when it is hot. Allow it to cool down completely. And then turn it upside down on a container.


Here is the Caramel Pudding, which finally was too tempting to resist even to shoot the pics of!